Sunny poached apricots


A slightly revised version of a BBC recipe. It’s just made for the tart, red-tinged apricots we get here. Apricots are nearly always disappointing raw, but brief cooking really intensifies the flavour. Baking in the oven rather than cooking on the stove top is gentler and means they are less likely to collapse. I do them when I am using the oven for something else anyway. Do plenty, and store in the fridge for instant dessert with cream, fromage frais, or ice cream.

About 500 g ripe apricots
500 ml rosé wine
120 g golden granulated sugar
1 vanilla pod

Preheat the oven to 180C. You can leave the apricots whole if you don’t mind the stones, otherwise halve them and remove the stones. Put the wine and sugar in a small pan; split the vanilla pod, scrape the seeds into the pan, and throw in the pod. Heat until the sugar has dissolved. Put the apricots into an ovenproof dish into which they fit snugly and poor over the wine syrup with the vanilla pod. Put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, till the apricots are tender but still hold their shape (if you’ve left them whole they will probably take a bit longer).

Allow to cool slightly, then carefully lift the apricots out using a slotted spoon and transfer to an attractive dish. Return the syrup to the pan and boil vigorously to reduce by at least half. Let the syrup cool and then pour over the apricots, ensuring they are covered by the liquid. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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